Patrick Ireland

Patrick Ireland (32) is an award-winning filmmaker who has produced and directed content, spanning a range of formats and genres, for the likes of ITV and Channel 4. His short films have garnered critical praise and screened at festivals across Europe.

From 2014-2016 he studied a Masters in Filmmaking at the London Film School. Before then, he read his Bachelors in Politics & Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.

In 2015 he completed the documentary film Anonymous: A Million Men which was later picked up by Shorts International for distribution. The film was also screened in the UK Parliament, followed by a Q&A conducted by Chi Onwurah MP. Later that year, he worked closely alongside Channel 4 in producing the first ever Youth Leaders Debate during the 2015 General Election.

In 2017 he graduated from the London Film School with the short drama One in a Million, shot in his hometown of Herne Bay, Kent. The film went on to win the Best Social Realism Film Award at the 2017 New Renaissance Film Festival, as well as being nominated for awards elsewhere, including for Best Film and Best Director.

In 2018 he wrote, directed and co-starred in The Director – a satirical dark comedy about homelessness and prejudice. The film premiered at the 2018 London Independent Film Festival.

His latest short film, Ill Fares The Land, wrapped in 2023 and is currently going out to festivals. The film is Patrick's best and most ambitious project to date, combining social realist drama with folk fantasy and political commentary.

Since 2019 he has been a Producer-Director at ITV working across popular daytime shows such as Good Morning Britain and This Morning.

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
My latest short film, Ill Fares The Land, is a contemporary fantasy-drama that explores the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ and the rise of the far-right in Britain. The story revolves around a young boy who finds a mermaid washed up on the shores of his seaside home while his older brother is swept up in the rising tide of far-right nationalism.

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What are your ambitions with your project?
I grew up in a seaside town (Herne Bay, Kent) which is very much a white working-class community. Sadly, over the years, I've noticed the rhetoric in these sorts of communities drift further to the right and for racism and xenophobia to become commonplace. Indeed, this is happening everywhere – across not just Britain, but much of Europe and America. Fascism is on the rise again and many of us feel powerless to stop it.

With Ill Fares The Land I wanted to make a film which, unflinchingly, depicted this reality as well as ask this question: Is a second fascist era inevitable? Can this new, growing fascism that is devouring community after community be stopped? At its core, Ill Fares The Land is my attempt to answer that question.


Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
I was genuinely blessed on this film with the best cast and crew I've ever had the pleasure of working with. The performances from Noah Silverstone and Ruaridh Aldington are among the best you'll find in the world of short films at the moment. As for my crew, everyone went above and beyond on this project and that really affected me as a director, to have that level of craft and dedication from your colleagues. Among them, I had the most brilliant cinematographer in Stephen Roach; a first-class editor in Michael Pentney; and the best score for a short I've ever heard (I know I'm biased!) thanks to composer Magdalena Maria Herfurtner. My producers also, Jessica Romagnoli and Annabella Casaburi, were absolutely heroic in fighting the various fires that every new day making a film brings.

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For what group of spectators is your film targeted?

I don’t tend to make films with a particular audience in mind, which is maybe where I’m going wrong! Filmmaking is a very personal and cathartic experience for me, I become totally engrossed in the projects I take on. I tend to make films which contain some kind of political or social messaging, so obviously I’d like as many people to watch them as possible!


How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?

As I said, I tend to make films of a political nature. I think it’s really important, especially given the current global context, that filmmakers encourage political discussion amongst the general public and challenge hegemonic thinking. With Ill Fares The Land specifically, the mermaid acts as a metaphor for a migrant attempting to cross the English Channel (which is obviously a big political talking point at the moment in the UK) and the film ultimately examines this growing problem of right-wing radicalisation and racism within parts of white working-class England.


Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
Probably like most filmmakers – because I’m absolutely head-over-heels in love with films! I've loved making them ever since I was a kid. My parents bought me a Mini DV camera and I used to make short films in school with my friends when we should've been in lessons! I suppose filmmaking is the ultimate form of escapism – literally creating worlds – and that's what I love about it. From when I was a child, to what I do now, it's essentially always remained the same.

Who is your role model?
I have many. Most of them aren’t filmmakers.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
There are so many and I love them all for different reasons. ‘Annie Hall’ is probably the best romantic-comedy ever made; Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy is the apex of fantasy cinema; ‘Donnie Darko’ is phenomenal and perfectly captures teen angst in such a unique, special way; ‘Night of the Hunter’ could be the best-looking film ever put to screen. In my view, the best film of the last decade was ‘Under The Silver Lake’ by David Robert Mitchell.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
I try to look to the real world for inspiration. We're living through such a major historical moment (the climate crisis, geopolitical instability, maybe even the end of capitalism) and I want my films to be reflective of this period. I like the idea that future people will be able to go back to the films of this time (particularly the indies) to be able to get a sense of how everyday people thought/felt about the world and what was happening around them.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
Making Ill Fares The Land! And marrying my producer Jessica Romagnoli next summer!

What do you consider most important about filming?
Have fun and don’t exploit people! There is so much exploitation within the Film/TV industry,
espeically of young creatives, whether it be through unpaid work or just treating people like dirt.
All of us, as filmmakers and human beings, have a duty to break this cycle of exploitation.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and
The critical reaction to Ill Fares The Land has been incredibly positive! Indie Shorts Mag, UK Film Review, Short Films Matter, Take 2 Indie Review and Indie Film Critics all awarded the film ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐calling it “perhaps the best film this writer has seen this year”, “powerful and poignant, pressing all the right hot button issues”, “an innovative and bold tale” and that “writer and director Patrick Ireland transcends beyond being an accomplished filmmaker in this ambitious fantasy drama.”

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Ill Fares The Land screened at the BIFA-qualifying North East International Film Festival at the end of September. Hopefully there will be many more festivals and screenings in the months to come! Unfortunately though, I think some of the ‘bigger’ festivals have been reluctant to screen the film
because of the political subject matter. That’s a shame, especially given the ‘migrant crisis’ is the number one political talking point in Britain at the moment – and will be for some time!

What are your future plans in filmmaking?
For now, I'm focused on taking Ill Fares The Land to festivals. I'd love to make a feature-length film some day, so hopefully that's an opportunity that'll arise in the not-too-distant future